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  1. 1. 1The House-Tree-Person TestCarolyn R. Fallahi, Ph. D.
  2. 2. 2Background• HTP: Draw a house, tree, person, &opposite sex person.• Inner view of himself/herself• the environment• the things considered important
  3. 3. 3Administration• Pencil & white paper.• Patient asked to draw a good house (asgood as possible), take as much time asneeded, erase anything you need to.• Then the pencil is taken away & you canuse crayons in anyway to shade in ordraw.
  4. 4. 4Projectives• The Theory behind Projectivetechniques.• Why is the HTP ambiguous?
  5. 5. 5What do the drawings tellus?• The inclusion or exclusion of the variousdetails of the HTP s left wholly to thepatient.• Hammer (1955) looked at the drawingsof normals versus sex offenders.
  6. 6. 6What does the drawing of ahouse tell us?• Associations concerning home-life• Intrafamilial relationships• Attitude toward their home situation(children)• Relationships to parents and siblings• Married adults
  7. 7. 7The Tree & the person• Paul Schilder (1935): the tree & theperson touch the core of the personality= body image and self-concept.
  8. 8. 8House• Roof: fantasy area of their lives.– Bats in the belfry– Fantasy distorts one’s mental functioning isspoken of in terms of an impairment in theindividual’s roof.
  9. 9. 9House• Overly large roof, overhanging &dwarfing the rest of the house• Schizophrenic patients or schizoid p.d.
  10. 10. 10Roof• Patients who do not draw a roof or whenthere is no height to the roof• Reinforced by heavy line pressure
  11. 11. 11Walls• The strength and accuracy of thedepicted walls of the house are directlyrelated to the degree of ego-strength inthe personality.• Crumbling walls• Reinforced boundary of walls
  12. 12. 12Walls• The outline of the walls of the housedrawn with a faint and inadequate linequality• Inadequate wall periphery• Transparent walls
  13. 13. 13Door• The door is the detail of the house thatallows direct contact with theenvironment.• A door that is tiny in relation to the sizeof the windows and the house• The door placed high above the house’sbaseline and not made moreapproachable by steps
  14. 14. 14Door• The overly large door.• The drawing of the door as open• If the house is said to be vacant, theopen door connotes ?• Emphasis upon locks and/or hinges
  15. 15. 15Windows• In the drawing of the house, windowsrepresent a secondary medium ofinteraction with the environment.• Emphasis upon window locks.
  16. 16. 16Windows• Shutters or curtains added to the windowand presented as closed.• Shutters, shades, or curtains put on thewindows but presented as open orpartially open.• Windows completely bare, withoutcurtains or shades nor crosshatching.
  17. 17. 17Windows• Reinforcement of window outlines, ifsimilar reinforcement does not occurelsewhere in the drawing.• Size of the window.
  18. 18. 18Bathroom• Undue importance given to the bathroomby making the window in that room thelargest of all the windows.
  19. 19. 19Windows• Placement of the windows.
  20. 20. 20Chimney Smoke• Smoke emphasized.• Smoke veering sharply to one side, as ifindicating a strong wind.
  21. 21. 21House Perspective• The house drawn as if the viewer isabove and looking down upon it (thebirds-eye view).• Worm’s eye view - in which the house ispresented as if the viewer is below andlooking up at it.
  22. 22. 22House Perspective• Absolute profile refers to a house drawnwith only the side presented to theviewer.• The front of the house, including thedoor or other entrance, is turned awaymaking it unseen and less accessible.
  23. 23. 23Perspective• The house drawn from the rear, esp. ifthere is no back door.• The rare rear view depictions.
  24. 24. 24Groundline• The relationship of the drawn house,tree, person to the groundline reflectsthe patient’s degree of contact withreality.• Whether the contact with the ground iseither firm or tenuous is of majordiagnostic interest.
  25. 25. 25Groundline• difficulty presenting the drawing as awhole• For example, choppy or sporadically-up-rooted (in the tree) from the ground andtoppling.
  26. 26. 26Accessories• Some patients directly reveal theirfeelings of insecurity by having tosurround and buttress their house withmany bushes, trees, and other detailsunrelated to the instruction.• A walkway, easily drawn and wellproportioned, leading to the door.
  27. 27. 27Accessories• A long and winding walkway.• A walkway excessively wide at the endtoward the viewer and leading in a directline to the door, but with the width of thewalkway narrowing too sharply.• Fences placed around the drawn houseare a defensiveness maneuver.
  28. 28. 28Tree• The adult mind is capable of voluntarilyassuming different attitudes in its perceptionand experience of the environment.• The person can be at one moment thedetached observer; the next moment be openreceptively to all the impressions from theenvironment and the feelings and pleasuresaroused by them; and in the next projecthimself or herself in emphatic experience withsome object of the environment.
  29. 29. 29Tree• The tree has been the symbol for lifeand growth.• What if the patient neglects thebranches?• Sometimes patients will draw a tree thatis tossed by the wind and broken bystorms.
  30. 30. 30Buck (1948)• The trunk = a patient’s feeling of basicpower and inner strength (ego strength)• The branch = patient’s feelings of abilityto derive satisfaction from theenvironment (a more unconscious levelof the same area tapped by the armsand hands on the person)
  31. 31. 31Details of the Tree• Trunk– Index of the basic strength of the personality– Reinforced peripheral lines in this area of the tree.– Faint, sketchy, or perforated lines employed for thetree trunk, and not elsewhere in the drawing.– Holes placed in the trunk and animals shownpeeping out of them.
  32. 32. 32Roots• overemphasis upon the roots of the treeas it makes contact with, and takes holdof, the ground.• A talon-like grasps (the roots depicted asif straining to hold onto the ground).• Roots drawn as if transparent.
  33. 33. 33Paper-based tree• Employment of the bottom edge of thepaper as the groundline, with the drawnpicture resting on that edge.
  34. 34. 34Paper-based Tree• The use of faint lines, reflecting thedepressive’s sapping of energy anddrive, as well as the favorite tree content– a weeping willow – may provide cluesto aid the differential interpretation.
  35. 35. 35Branches• Branches represent the patient’s felt resourcesfor seeking satisfaction from the environment.• Overly long arms extending away from thebody as if striving manfully, but the tree showstruncated and broken branches.• Branch structures presented as tall andnarrow, reaching unduly upward and minimallyoutward to the sides.
  36. 36. 36Branches• At times, a subject will emphasize the upwardreaching of the branch structure to the pointwhere the top of the tree extends off beyondthe page’s top.• Occasionally a patient will abruptly flatten thetop of the foliage area or crown of the tree.• One-dimensional branches, that do not form asystem and are inadequately joined to a one-dimensional trunk (segmentalization).
  37. 37. 37Branches• Flexibility of the branch structure, withthe organization of the branchesproceeding form thick to thin in aproximal-distal direction.• Branches that appear club-like or lookspear-like with excessively sharpenedpoints at the ends, or appear to havebarb-like thorns along their surface.
  38. 38. 38Branches• Two-dimensional branches drawn andunclosed at the distal end.• Branches that are drawn so that theyactually look more phallic-like thanbranch-like.• Broken branches and cut-off branches.
  39. 39. 39Branches• If the tree trunk itself is truncated andtiny branches grow from the stump.• Branches that turn inward toward thetree instead of reaching outward towardthe environment.• An overly large branch structure placedon top of a relatively tiny tree trunk.
  40. 40. 40Branches• If the opposite extreme occurs, e.g. atiny branch topping an overly large trunk.• IF children’s drawings, particularlybranches, are sometimes drawnreaching appealing to the sun.
  41. 41. 41Branches• Occasionally, a child will draw a tree asbending away from a large and low-placed sun.• This is rare: secondary branches thatare drawn spike-like and imbedded likethorns into the flesh of primary branches.
  42. 42. 42Branches• The points of ordinary branches, ratherthan being at the outer end, are at thepoint of contact with the tree trunk orwith the branches from which they grow.These small branches appear to dig into,rather than grow from, the largerbranches.
  43. 43. 43Branches• In a general way, the overall impressionconveyed by the branches correlateswith the broad personality dimensions ofthe subject.
  44. 44. 44Keyhole Tree• The depiction of the trunk and foliagearea as if one continuous line without aline separating the crown from the trunk,looks like a keyhole.
  45. 45. 45Split Tree• The name for this drawing comes fromthe fact that the sidelines of the trunk donot have any lines connecting them toeach other; they extend upward, eachone forming its own independent branchstructure.
  46. 46. 46Theme• The implication of a sense of doom inthe drawing of a tree with a buzzardhovering over it.
  47. 47. 47Tree• Pregnant women often offer fruit treesand depressed patients, shows apropensity for weeping willows.• Young children will frequently draw appletrees; 35% of kindergarten children; 9%at the age of 10; and close to none by 14years old.
  48. 48. 48Age ascribed to the tree• Draw a tiny sapling rather than a fullgrown tree.
  49. 49. 49Tree Depicted as Dead• Ask the patient, “is that tree alive?”. Ifthe patient responds that the tree isdead has been associated withsignificantly maladjusted.
  50. 50. 50Person• Self-portraits depict what patients feelthemselves to be.• Abstract ability allows the non-mirrorimage depiction (e.g. the patient’s rightside to be portrayed by the drawnperson’s right side).
  51. 51. 51Person• In addition to the physical self, the patientprojects a picture of the psychological self intothe drawing of the person. For example:• Patients of adequate or superior height maydraw a tiny figure with arms dangling ratherhelplessly away from the sides and abeseeching facial expression.
  52. 52. 52Other examples of persondrawings• Aggressive, devil like person• Toppling person losing equilibrium• Mannequin-like clothes dummy• Adolescent’s drawn person carrying abaseball bat in one hand, a tennis racketin the other, and wearing a mustache onhis lip.
  53. 53. 53Other examples• A drawn woman who exposes a gooddeal of her drawn person’s skirt up.• Drawing of a clown.
  54. 54. 54Other Examples• Drawing of a person slumped into anarm chair rather than standing on feet(statistically norm).• Drawing of a woman with her handsthrust ecstatically in her hair wile dancingalone to music.• Man with rigidly erect body with theabsolute side view presenting.
  55. 55. 55Other Examples• Adolescent boys frequently drawmuscular athletes attired in bathing suits,while adolescent girls draw femalemovie star figures wearing eveninggowns• Ego-ideal• Draw ego-ideal … better prognosis.
  56. 56. 56Size• Typically the size tells about the patient’sself-esteem.
  57. 57. 57Size• May also be related to self-confidence.• Unusually large drawings indicateaggressive and acting-out tendencies.• May also mean manic or expansivetendencies, anxiety/conflict.• Unusually small.
  58. 58. 58Pencil Pressure• Patient’s energy level.• Heavy pressure = high energy.• Light pressure = low energy• Heavy pressure.• Unusually light.
  59. 59. 59Stroke & Line Quality• Long pencil strokes.• Short strokes.• Horizontal movement emphasis.• Vertical movement emphasis.
  60. 60. 60Line Quality• Discontinuous line quality, e.g. manybreaks in the outside boundary of thefigures.• Drawings, where the outline of the figureseems to be so discontinuous that itappears as a series of disconnecteddashes.• Straight, uninterrupted strokes.
  61. 61. 61Lack of Detail• Indicates withdrawal tendencies with anassociated reduction of energy.• Excessive detailing.
  62. 62. 62Placement• Placement in the middle of the page=typical of most normal patients.• On the right side of the page.• On the left side of the page.
  63. 63. 63Placement• Orientation and concern with the past.• High on the page.• Low on the page.• Upper left-hand corner.• Upper right-hand corner.
  64. 64. 64Erasure• Excessive erasure.
  65. 65. 65Shading• Excessive shading.• Some shading (& erasure) is an adaptivemechanism – an attempt to give thedrawing a sense of 3 – dimensionality.
  66. 66. 66Distortions and Omissions• Gross distortion.• Moderate distortions and omissions.
  67. 67. 67Transparency• Transparency can indicate poor realityties, except, of course in the drawings ofyoung children who are typically normal.
  68. 68. 68Sex of First Drawn Figure• Most drawn same sex first (85 – 95%).What if they don’t?
  69. 69. 69Interpretations concerningbody parts• Head:– Symbol of intellectual & fantasy activity– Symbol of impulse & emotional control– Symbol of socialization and communication– Unusually large?– Unusually small?
  70. 70. 70Hair• Hair– Overemphasis– Absent?
  71. 71. 71Facial Features• Omitted?• Over-emphasis of facial features.• Unusually large or strongly reinforcedeyes.• Unusually small or closed eyes.
  72. 72. 72Nose• Considered a phallic symbol or a symbolof power motive.• Large nose.• Omitted?
  73. 73. 73Nose• Nose drawn as a button or a triangle.• Sharply-pointed.• Shaded, dim, or truncated.
  74. 74. 74Mouth• Regressive defenses; oral emphasis inthe personality.• What if the mouth was omitted?
  75. 75. 75Other features of the mouth• Slash line?• Tiny mouth.• Mouth with large grin.• Teeth (adult)?
  76. 76. 76Ears• Ears are often omitted by normalsubjects.• What if they are drawn in?
  77. 77. 77Chin• Over-emphasized chin.
  78. 78. 78Neck• Link between intellectual life and affect.• Unusually short, thick neck.• Unusually long neck.• Neck omitted?
  79. 79. 79Shoulders• Well-drawn and neatly roundedshoulders – typically normal.• Broad shoulders.• Absence of shoulders.• Tiny shoulders.• Large or broad shoulders.
  80. 80. 80Breasts• Unusually large breasts drawn by male.• Unusually large breasts drawn byfemales.
  81. 81. 81Waistline• A heavy line separating the lower bodyfrom the rest of the body.• Unusually high or low waistline.• Excessively tight waist.• Elaborate belt.
  82. 82. 82Trunk• Body symbolizes basic drives andtherefore, attitudes related to thedevelopment and integration of thesedrives in the personality indicated by themanner in which the trunk is drawn.• If body drawn in fragmented fashion?
  83. 83. 83Trunk• How do children typically draw the trunk?• Large trunk.• Trunk omitted by an adult.• Small trunk.
  84. 84. 84Genitalia• Genitalia = rarely drawn.• What does it mean if it is drawn?• Normal for art students and persons inpsychoanalysis & sex therapy patients.
  85. 85. 85Arms, Hands, Fingers• Arms = type and quality of the patient’scontact with environment.• Arms relaxed & flexible.• Arms folded.• Arms behind the back.
  86. 86. 86Hands• Hands placed behind the back.• Large hands.• Small hands.
  87. 87. 87Hands• Hands drawn as mittens suggest repressed orsuppressed aggressive tendencies with theaggression expressed indirectly.• Clenched figures = aggression andrebelliousness, or conscious attempts tocontrol anger.• Fingers without hands, or large fingers in adultdrawings indicate regression; or infantileaggressive assaultive tendencies.
  88. 88. 88Hands• Long figures.• Omission of fingers.• Talon-like fingers or spiked fingers.
  89. 89. 89Legs• Legs or feet.• Crossed legs.• Long legs.• Short legs.
  90. 90. 90Feet• Elongated or large feet• Emphasis on feet• Omission of feet• Small feet
  91. 91. 91Evaluation of the HTP• Nonverbal technique = greaterapplicability to children.• Also good for patients with limitededucation, limited intellectual ability, lowSES, culturally deprived backgrounds, orthose who are shy and withdrawn; thosewho dk speak English, or who are mute.
  92. 92. 92Other advantages• Requires little time and is simple toadminister.• Culture-free technique – do not needelaborate command of language to getinformation.
  93. 93. 93Disadvantages• Verbal patients are less responsive tographic techniques than to otherprojectives, like the TAT or Rorschach.• Psychomotor difficulties such as physicalhandicaps or tremulousness (geriatricpatients) impede the analysis. Theirpersonality expression is held back bytheir motoric handicap.
  94. 94. 94Disadvantages• Patients with a paucity of inner life, suchas the schizoid patient, provide a barrenpersonality profile. These patients needsomething external to stimulate theirmental processes.

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